Thanksgiving Safety Tips

Thanksgiving brings families and friends together to share in good company, good conversation and good food!  A busy day or two, a schedule that’s filled with chores and preparations, and we create for ourselves an environment that could place caution behind a very long “To-Do List”.

Everyone is aware of the increase in health hazards during these busy times so let’s take a few minutes to remind ourselves of a few safety tips to ensure our holiday is a safe one.

It has been reported by the U.S. Fire Administration for each year from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 2,400 residential building fires were reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day and caused an estimated 5 deaths, 25 injuries and $19 million in property loss.

And it was reported that almost half (48 percent) of Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occurred from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when many people were most likely preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

Cooking fires in residential buildings occurred more often on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Cooking was, by far, the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings at 77 percent.

Be sure that you have a smoke detector in the kitchen area and press the “test button” to be sure the batteries are working properly.  If you don’t remember the last time you changed the batteries, do yourself a favor and change them now.

Here are a few more fire safety tips:

  1. When you are simmering on the cooktop or baking, broiling or roasting in the oven, use a timer.
  2. If you are using a deep fryer please keep the fryer a safe distance from the house.
  3. Be sure that your potholders and wraps are a safe distance from the cooktop.
  4. Watch your sleeves and clothing when cooking.
  5. Extinguish all candles at the end of the day.

Cooking a turkey to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (the stuffing too!) is important to avoid a health problem.  A well-cooked turkey starts with proper thawing.  Thawing a turkey at 40° F can cause food poisoning.  Salmonella or other bacteria will grow rapidly if you don’t thaw your turkey using one of three options:

Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator.  Thaw one day for every 5 lbs. of turkey. Submerge the turkey in water as long as it’s in a leak-proof package.  Submerge for 30 minutes for every pound.  Change the water every half hour. Defrost the turkey in the microwave.  Remove the packaging and follow the directions for microwave thawing.

All that good conversation while eating all that good food can lead to choking.  If this happens and someone is unable to cough, breath or speak be ready to act quickly.  First, have someone call 911.  Immediately begin the American Red Cross choking method below:

FIVE –and- FIVE for choking victims.  Give the choking victim FIVE sharp blows to the back.  Use the heel of your hand.  If this method does not dislodge the obstruction then give the victim FIVE quick, upward abdominal thrusts.  Remember to stay with the victim.
If this happens to you and you are alone giving yourself FIVE abdominal thrusts using your hand or by pressing your abdomen firmly against the back of a chair.

Leftovers need to be put away within two hours of serving.  Don’t forget the pies too ~ they need to be put away as well.  If you plan on eating the leftovers within three days then put them in the refrigerator otherwise put them in the freezer.  Be sure to take the meat off the bones, and remember when heating up those leftovers they need to reach an internal temperature of 165° F too!

Anyone that has pets knows that they also want part of all that smells so good.  Remember that turkey bones are hollow and will splinter and could tear their esophagus, stomach or intestines.  Turkey skin and gravy can contribute to pancreatitis.  Although we, as humans, may love chocolate, it can be deadly for our dogs.  A few other foods to watch out for when eating around our dogs are grapes, onions, raisins, alcohol and anything with caffeine.

To all our family, friends, clients and those we have yet to meet, we wish you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.